North Carolina has some surprisingly impressive theme parks for a state known for its beaches and mountains. From the heart-pumping roller coasters at Carowinds to the nostalgic charm of Tweetsie Railroad, these parks have everything you need for a day of non-stop family fun.
Dive into the world of roller coasters, water rides, and carnival games to discover what makes North Carolina theme parks standout destinations.
Carowinds theme park in Charlotte, NC, offers tons of entertainment. It's a thrill-seeker's paradise with over 100 rides, shows, and attractions providing hours of fun for the whole family. From roller coasters to water slides, Carowinds has plenty of options for everyone to enjoy.
The Fury 325 coaster is one of the most popular rides at Carowinds , as it reaches speeds up to 95 mph and stands over 300 feet tall. It's more than 1.25 miles long, making it North America's longest steel coaster.
For those who prefer something a bit more low-key, there are plenty of other attractions like Planet Snoopy or Dinosaurs Alive. For young kids, there's Camp Snoopy which features kiddie rides and activities like the Peanuts 500 go-karts and Linus Launcher swingset.
The Carolina Harbor Waterpark offers visitors even more thrills with its wave pool, lazy river, and several exciting waterslides like the Barracuda Blasters or Blackbeard's Revenge. If you're looking for some serious adventure, check out Flying Cobra. This inverted steel coaster will have you screaming all the way down its boomerang track!
Welcome to Tweetsie Railroad, an old-fashioned adventure in Blowing Rock, NC. This beloved theme park attraction has delighted visitors since 1957 with its scenic steam train rides and fun family activities.
Take a ride on the famous three-mile-long Wild West themed excursion aboard a historic steam locomotive that takes you through the Blue Ridge Mountains. The train features open-air cars for those who want to get up close and personal with nature during their journey.
Once you arrive at your destination, explore Tweetsie's Old West Town, complete with a palace saloon, jailhouse, general and western store. Kids will love meeting characters “Hopper & Porter”. Hopper the rabbit is a steam locomotive engineer and Porter, a turtle, is a conductor. They host a fun, interactive musical show in the Miners Mountain Theater.
Adults can enjoy live entertainment featuring music from traditional bluegrass to classic country tunes. You can also try your hand at gold panning and gem mining.
With an arcade, kiddie rides like miniature trains, petting zoo animals, gemstone mining sluices, playgrounds, and snack bars, there is something at Tweetsie Railroad to keep the whole family entertained.
Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe
Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe is the perfect place for families to enjoy a day of fun in the sun. Located in Greensboro, North Carolina, this waterpark boasts 40 attractions spread across 40 acres and has something for all ages to enjoy.
Check out Bermuda Triangle or Riptide Racer for maximum thrills; they are two of the park's most popular attractions. The Bermuda Triangle features three different drop slides that send riders down four stories at speeds up to 25 mph. And if that isn't enough excitement, try your luck on Riptide Racer. This eight-lane racing slide is where you can challenge friends and family to see who makes it downhill first.
For those seeking a more relaxed experience, Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe water park also offers several pools and lazy rivers with plenty of lounge chairs so visitors can soak up some rays while enjoying their favorite tunes. Even private cabanas are available if you want extra privacy while taking a dip in one of the many heated pools or hot tubs throughout the park.
Little ones will love playing at the Soak Zone – an interactive water playground with kid-friendly slides and sprayers that will keep them entertained all day.
Santa's Land is a magical Christmas experience located in Cherokee, NC. It offers plenty of things to do for kids of all ages – including kids at heart!
Get a bird's eye view of the park when you soar 30 feet in the air on the Skyway Sleigh or drop like Santa down The Chimney Drop. For those looking for a more leisurely pace, you'll find carousels and train rides that take you around the park, with festive holiday music jingling all the way.
The park also has plenty of family-friendly activities, such as the 3D theater, where guests can watch movies like A Tinkerdoodle Christmas. At night, they can see Santa's Christmas Light Show come to life.
Come hungry because there are plenty of options to fill you up, including burgers, pizza, and lots of sweet treats. Santa's Land also has several gift shops selling everything from souvenirs to toys so visitors can take home a trinket to remember their magical experience.
Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park
At Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park in Wilmington, NC, visitors of all ages can enjoy a range of super fun rides and attractions for a fantastic family experience. From thrilling water slides to a relaxing lazy river and more, Jungle Rapids offers unforgettable experiences that will leave you wanting more!
For those looking for water slide thrills, Jungle Rapids features some of the most popular in the area. The “Twister” is a ride that will have you spinning around tight turns as you plunge down a tube into a splash pool. For those craving an adrenaline rush, try “The Big Drop,” where riders freefall down five stories before landing in a giant pool.
If high-speed rides aren't your thing, don't worry because there are plenty of other attractions at Jungle Rapids. Take a leisurely float along the lazy river, cool off in the million-gallon wave pool, or take in breathtaking views from the top of the Ferris wheel. There is also mini golf, bumper boats, and batting cages available, so everyone can find something they love doing at Jungle Rapids.
Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge is the ideal destination for families wanting to maximize their vacation budget. Located in Concord, North Carolina, this resort offers an unforgettable experience with amenities like an indoor water park, a ropes course, mini golf, and much more.
At Great Wolf Lodge, you'll enjoy attractions that will keep your family entertained from the moment you walk in. More than just a waterpark, activities include story time by the giant fireplace, MagiQuest, a fun-sized bowling alley, Northern Lights Arcade, and plenty more.
Plus, after a day full of fun, you can relax in one of their wolf-themed suites or cabins equipped with cozy fireplaces and private balconies overlooking the beautiful North Carolina scenery.
With six locations in North Carolina, Defy Gravity offers visitors an unparalleled trampoline park experience. It's the perfect spot for adventure lovers of all ages to get their adrenaline fix. Each facility features more than 30 trampolines spread across two levels, including foam pits and dodgeball courts.
Plus, plenty of activities like basketball dunking lanes and climbing walls will challenge even the most experienced jumpers. They also have an arcade with classic games like Pac-Man and pinball machines if you need a break from bouncing around.
For those who want to take their jumping skills up another notch (or two), Defy Gravity offers classes such as tumbling clinics where participants learn basic moves. This includes things like cartwheels or handstands under professional instruction. Private lessons are also available upon request, so you can work on specific tricks tailored to your needs.
Come and experience the thrill of Defy Gravity for yourself and discover why it's quickly becoming one of the most popular themed destinations in the world.
H2OBX Waterpark is a one-stop destination for your aquatic adventures. Located in North Carolina's Outer Banks, H2OBX offers guests adrenaline-pumping rides and more relaxed experiences like inner tube floats down a lazy river.
For those wanting the ultimate adrenaline rush, try out some of H2OBX's signature attractions, like the Neptune Drop or Hurricane Falls. These two giant body slides send riders spiraling into a pool below. Visitors who prefer tamer rides can enjoy the park's winding waterslides or spend time lounging in one of its many hot tubs.
With more than 30 rides, slides, and attractions, the newest waterpark on the Outer Banks is the place to be this summer!
It's Not Too Early To Plan Your Next Vacation
Come explore North Carolina's fantastic theme parks, amusement parks, and water parks and make memories with your friends and family that will last a lifetime!
This article was produced by Wealth of Geeks.
Karee Blunt is the founder of OurWovenJourney.com, a travel blog focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.